The usual roundup of interesting links from the depths of ye olde internets:
- Sweater Curse – The things you find on Wikipedia:
The “sweater curse” or “curse of the love sweater” is a term used by knitters to describe the belief that if a knitter gives a hand-knit sweater to a significant other, it will lead to the recipient breaking up with the knitter. In an alternative formulation, the relationship will end before the sweater is even completed. The belief is widely discussed in knitting publications, and some knitters claim to have experienced it. In a 2005 poll, 15% of active knitters said that they had experienced the sweater curse firsthand, and 41% considered it a possibility that should be taken seriously.
- A Bird-Feed Seller Beat a Chess Master Online. Then It Got Ugly – Content moderation is difficult, even in the seemingly quaint realm of online chess. Also weird that e-sports seem to have experienced a bit of an explosion during the pandemic. I often wonder how things like this will be impacted by the vaccine. Will thousands of people still tune in to watch long, thinky chess matches, or will the audience evaporate once they can go out again?
- Drone flies through a bowling alley – I’m surprised we haven’t seen more of this sorta of gonzo drone footage in movies. It’s all over youtube and it’s cool looking without the uncanny valley feeling you get from CGI. Anyway, this is a decent enough example, but the real reason I’m including it is this utterly perfect tweak of the original.
- Woman Finds Another Apartment Inside Her Apartment – This is like a setup for a horror movie.
- You Can’t Censor Away Extremism (or Any Other Problem) – Coming at the hate speech problem from a different direction:
One of the themes I’ve come back to many times in my writing is the idea that people mistake empirical claims (this is true about the world) with normative claims (this should be true about the world). Nowhere is this more clear than with “hate speech” and censorship. I think hate speech laws are politically and morally wrong, a normative claim, but more importantly they don’t work, an empirical claim – one which if true renders normative claims that hate speech laws are good irrelevant.
The debate about whether we should censor unpopular views such as hate speech is an important one, but also a strange one. In my experience, it operates wholly independent from any consideration of the restraints of reality.
- SETI Optimism is Human Future Pessimism – Another meditation on the Fermi Paradox, but with more math and some new terminology. Not sure I love the “grabby civilization” phrase, but it captures a useful idea in the discussion.
That’s all for now…